Cannacurio Podcast Episode 26 with Karen Mayberry of Trym

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In the latest episode of the Cannacurio Podcast from Cannabiz Media, my co-host, Amanda Guerrero, and I discuss retailer and dispensary license updates from the past 11 months as well as new license data for California, Oregon, and Oklahoma that has been added to the Cannabiz Media License Database. We also speak with Karen Mayberry, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Trym, a cannabis software for cultivators that offers team management, plant tracking, analytics tools, and more.

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Cannacurio Podcast Episode 26 Transcript

Narrator: This is the Cannacurio Podcast by Cannabiz Media, your source for cannabis and hemp license updates directly from the data vault. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Cannabiz Media newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay informed of future episodes and data releases.

Amanda Guerrero: Welcome to the Cannacurio podcast, powered by Cannabiz Media. We’re your hosts, Amanda Guerrero and Ed Keating. Today we’ve got a great show for you guys. We’re going to be speaking with Karen Mayberry the CMO and co-founder of Trym. Trym is a cultivation software that helps take the WTF out of your ROI according to their website. I loved it. I figured I’d share that with you guys, but really excited to speak with Karen.

Karen and the Trym family are also recent subscribers of the Cannabiz Media platform, so we’re going to be speaking with them as well about their experience using the software. But, as always, let’s check in with Ed to see what he has for us today from the data vault. Ed?

Ed Keating: Thanks, Amanda. So, a couple of things going on, we just published today an updated retailer and dispensary report from the first 11 months of the year. So, really showing where there’s been growth, as you know, broken record, Oklahoma is still in the lead.

What was really interesting though, is we took a cut at the numbers, just seeing what the rate of growth was, and if you look at the graph, you’ll see that Michigan actually is adding at a faster rate than really anybody else. So, that was pretty-

Amanda Guerrero: Oh, really?

Ed Keating: … interesting and something that speaks for all of that market. We’ve recently added California, Oregon, and Oklahoma updates and new licenses. So, those went in and then lastly, since our last pod we put out an updated software stack report.

So, we went back through and looked at all the companies that connect to Metric and Leafdata in Washington. and we found that there have been about 43 new vendors since mid-year, and so we put them all in the categories and whatnot.

One of the quick findings I’ll share is that we only found one new point of sale vendor that came into the market because there’s so many out there, it kind of makes sense. But we thought that was pretty interesting insight in terms of which parts of the software stack are growing and which ones may have reached the point of diminishing returns. So, a lot going on, on the data side.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah. Do you think we have reached that point with the point of sales groups, Ed?

Ed Keating: When I published the last report, I guess it was back in late October or early November, one of the predictions I put out there was I think we’ll see fewer point of sale vendors when we do our next report a year from now. So, I’m still going to stick by that.

I think we are probably going to see some consolidation, and it’ll probably be a survival of the fittest and those that behave a little bit more like MSLs and cover multiple markets, maybe in a better position to scoop up other rivals.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, you guys know we will be tracking all this and Ed will be publishing this data, so make sure that you subscribe to our newsletter and check out Cannacurio on our website. But, thank you so much for the update, Ed. As I mentioned earlier, we will be joined by Karen Mayberry of Trym. Karen, thank you so much for joining us. Welcome, welcome.

Karen Mayberry: Hey, Amanda. Yeah. Thanks for having me on. I’m stoked to be here with you guys.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah, of course. You were recommended to us by our colleague. Mackenzie Ziegler said that the Trym’d crew definitely had to come on the show and that Karen would share some great insights.

Now, for those of us that are just joining, you are also the co-founder of Trym as well as the chief marketing officer. Did you know that you always wanted to get involved with the cultivation technology side of the industry?

Karen Mayberry: No. I mean, I didn’t always know that, but I did learn very early that I loved cannabis. I grew up in Southern California and got introduced to the plant pretty early and I knew then that it was for me.

So, at the time, I had no idea that legalization was even a possibility into the future, but when we did go medical, I got my card as soon as possible and just what a world that opened up for me and so many others. Just to have access to cannabis was super exciting and it’s just played a steady role in my life.

So, when California was preparing to go recreational and me and my husband, Matt, who is our CEO and also co-founder and my other co-founder Benjamin Wong, the three of us, we all have our own history and kind of connection to the plants, so we were really looking seriously at the industry to see how we could participate. And we started going to trade shows in like late 2017 and just talking to as many growers as we could, going and visiting facilities, kind of learning about the pain points, and that’s kind of when the idea and the vision for Trym was born.

Amanda Guerrero: Wow, that’s so exciting, especially to being able to share this adventure and this journey with your partner. Now, looking at your website and doing a quick Google search, a phrase caught my eye and it was something to the effect of taking the WTF out of your ROI on the Trym website. Can you tell us a little bit about this and the origin of this?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah. No, for sure I love that you picked that out. I think it’s cute as well. So, it’s really just about bringing visibility into cannabis operations. So, cultivators have been tracking data for as long as there have been plants growing in the ground, but this data tracking has been taking place, pen and paper or just many isolated systems, whether it’s an environmental tracker, or sensor, or a notebook or an Excel sheet if you’re more sophisticated, and none of these systems speak to each other.

Obviously, they’re not connected, and it’s also really hard to derive any type of insights or understanding from the data. So, this is what we’re trying to solve with Trym is by creating a single system to track the key data points in a cultivation operation and tie them together, so things like environmental data points, temperature, humidity, operational inputs like what your team is doing and then, of course, your final yields and your data that you have to report to Metrc to remain in compliance with the state. So, we’re trying to be just a super customized system just for cultivators to help them manage all these important pieces of their business.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah, that’s great and I appreciate the insights there. Ed, what did you think?

Ed Keating: Yeah, absolutely and especially on the KPI piece, it’s something I want to drill into a bit later. One of the first questions I wanted to ask is that Trym is connected to Metrc in California. I’m curious, aside from you being located there, why California and how do you decide which states to enter as you look out at the marketplace?

Karen Mayberry: That’s a great question, something we think about a lot at Trym. We are just integrated with Metrc here in California. The history with that is when we first launched, we didn’t even have an intention to integrate with Metrc.

What we learned when we were, like I said earlier, we were figuring out what’s going on in the market and what are the needs, what are the pain points. There were already a ton of seed-to-sale systems, right? So, that was the software system that we already found on the market.

We found solutions to help the seed-to-sale tracking, but we didn’t find systems to help them manage other things like their labor, their team and tie this data together. So, we ended up integrating with Metrc because we started working with a bunch of great clients here given our proximity – we’re based here in the Bay Area – and we started working with a big cultivator who basically was like, “Look, you guys need to do Metrc.”

And we were kind of realizing, yeah, we really do. It’s kind of like table stakes, right? It’s what everyone needs, so we ended up doing the Metrc integration in California and it was a really big lift. What we found is that to get Metric paritym it takes a lot, otherwise, you’re going to find that if you don’t really have a complete integration, operators are going to have to go into Metrc, and your system isn’t going to be as sticky if they have to spend time in Metrc managing even just a little bit of their compliance.

So, we just keep finding things to build here in California, and what’s great is that with our task management system that’s super built out in our work flow system and our more operational tools, we sell those successfully outside of California/ Ad we also have some integrations with IOT sensor companies. So, we’re able to be more of like a farm management and operational tool outside of California, and then, we can plug in the Metrc component here in California.

Ed Keating: Yeah, very interesting in terms of having that Metrc piece in there. A million years ago when I worked in a different industry, we had software that helped people create complex documents and we partnered with somebody who helped with the filing of those complex documents, and in the end, we found that our customers were more concerned with that filing partner than our solution because that was really where there was a lot of pain.

So, I can see why you guys made that decision to sort of jump in and make sure to have that covered. Now, I estimate there are about 16 gross software providers in California that are connected to Metrc, your tracking labor team, other metrics, how do you stand out? What makes you find those customers and have them stick with you?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question and an important one, right? You really do have to differentiate. You’re absolutely right. There are a ton of gross software providers, and I feel every day there’s more popping up, which is great. It’s great for operators to have options.

The way we stand out is we really feel that we’re building a system for large scale cultivators. We’re building lots of tools for large scale production planning, labor management, so if you do have a big team, using a system like Trym is going to be advantageous to make sure that you’re just super-efficient and just your team’s firing on all cylinders.

Another piece that helps us to stand out is that we only work with growers, so our system is not built for manufacturers. It’s not built for extractors or retailers. So, we’re creating a super customized solution. Any problem that we solve or any feature that we build, it’s just for our cultivators.

So, we feel that there’s going to be a lot more value in our system for cultivators, for example, the integrations with IOT sensors. So, indoor cultivators are super concerned with their environmental conditions and they’re looking at those, they’re looking at the plant data to steer their crop towards success. So, being able to plug into sensors and we just want to open up our API more and more to more complimentary hardware and software systems to provide even more value.

So, we consider ourselves different in that way, the sensor, the integration play and also the fact that we’re taking that environmental data and we’re tying it back to the data that’s being reported to Metrc. So, yeah, you’re understanding what you’re producing is great, but what are the inputs that cause that output, right? What were your conditions? What was your team up to? How did you get that great batch? How did you get that high yield? How did you get that excellent THC profile? We want to provide the data and the whole picture to understand that to be able to replicate it.

Ed Keating: Yeah. The replication piece has to be absolutely, absolutely key. That makes total sense. So, you’ve already sort of answered part of this next question which is how do you segment your market because one of the ways that I look at it is in industries that I’ve worked in. Once you get up to three or four states to manage for compliance, outside help becomes critical.

So, for you, you’ve talked about large scale growers and labor management. So, does somebody need to have a certain number of facilities for it to be a great match for you? What is your ideal customer look like?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, totally. I do think if you have a large team using a system like Trym is going to be really, really, really helpful. We have smaller teams on the platform too, for instance, in California. Since we do have a super solid Metrc integration, people want to use us for the Metrc piece and they may get value out of the tasking, definitely the data tracking as well. But, when we look at how we segment the markets, we definitely kind of treated as California and then outside of California and that’s obviously because of the Metrc piece that we have here.

How many licenses or facilities? Our solution is really scalable. We are working on a really cool multi-licensed feature right now to make it just much more fluid and seamless for these big behemoths brands that have like 20 licenses.

So, I do think that we’re kind of building the platform to be suitable for the more enterprise level MSLs that can manage and have a dashboard with all of their different facilities and licenses. I mean, we started working with craft growers here in California and Oregon.Wwe still have them on our platform, so I definitely think the solution is scalable. It just depends what you’re looking for, what you’re trying to optimize for.

Ed Keating: Yeah. Now, that makes sense and I know you talked about the large scale growers. When you look in our database on the company side, I think that the largest number of licenses that anybody has is some California grower with 349 licenses. Although, I think we all know that that’s really one license, 349 times over, but they’re certainly out there, these people who’ve built some giant farms.

So, one last question I wanted to dig into was you talked about Trym tracking environmental conditions, task management, plant analytics and Metrc. So, I’m curious how do your clients use this information and the reason why I ask is I was sitting in on one of the MJBiz sessions yesterday about using data, and the chief information officer, I think from Cresco said, “We don’t start any meetings without a report up on the screen or a Tableau report in everybody’s hands.” Everything’s data-driven. So, I’m curious how are your clients using that data and are they driving any KPIs off of that?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question. I think the two pieces that stand out to me the most, just looking at our platform, are definitely the environmental data that’s being used right now to just listen to the plants and understand how successful or how healthy they are.

I think one of the trends that’s growing right now is this crop steering that’s becoming really popular in cannabis, and it’s kind of a high-tech way to steer the plants during their different growth phases and understand what they need. So, in the vegetative state, they need this much amount of light or this much amount of humidity, and that changes as they progress into the flowering stage and even as you break down the flowering stage into the individual weeks. It’s super high-tech, and I think it’s really, really interesting.

So, having the data and other data points as well, like the electrical conductivity and root zone sensors, cultivators are starting to look at all of this and understand and steer their crops how they want to steer them.

So, I think having that piece is really important and then also the task data like just a basic thing of what tasks aren’t being completed in your facility during a week, because if you have 10 facilities and you have a 20% cultivation team at each of those facilities and you’re a multi-state operator, that’s 200 employees. That’s so many different things that are happening, and if tasks aren’t being completed or if tests aren’t being completed on time or they’re taking too long to complete, that’s going to mess up your production schedule and it may have further implications down the line as well.

So, simple things as who’s completing their work, how long is it taking, that has impact on your operation and your production. So, just having that data accessible and visible to everyone in the organization, especially the people that need access to it who may not be onsite, is critical.

Ed Keating: Yeah. Karen, one last question in terms of tracking that people in task data, does your software help people at all with some of that 280E tax compliance? Is this kind of approved work or stuff I can write off? Does it get to that level or is it more at the task level?

Karen Mayberry: Great question. Right now, it’s just at the task level, but we’re looking to integrate with an HR company pretty soon, maybe Q1 2021 or we can also tap into that as well and help out through their system. We’re super excited about integrations and partnerships, so that would be something that would be achieved via integration.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, so we’ve talked a lot, Karen, about how Trym works with businesses and helps the industry, especially in terms of the cultivators, but I’m curious, what do you guys do internally in terms of, kind of some of your sales and marketing strategies and just more specifically how do you guys utilize Cannabiz Media within your current work environment?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah. So, the database has been super helpful for our sales team. We’ve been on the platform for a full year and we signed on again for 2021. It’s great to-

Amanda Guerrero: Thank you very much.

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, no, we’re stoked. We love your team, and we find the database super helpful, and another thing that I love about you guys is the improvements and the advancements that you’re making to the platform. As a software provider, I know that’s important to me, so kudos to that.

But, yeah, just having the database, being able to poke around, and our business development rep Brian loves to get in there and just kind of do his investigatory work. But, yeah. Content marketing is big for us, and what we’ve been able to do with the platform is just distribute our content wider by having all of the email information and the whole database.

But, we’ve also learned a lot of great tips from your team about how to approach cold outreach because you have to have a completely different strategy when you’re reaching out to folks who didn’t ask to hear from you versus people who came in through your website or who requested information about your products.

So, the team at Cannabiz has been helpful in not only just offering us this great product, but giving us some insights and strategy on how to be most successful with the product. So, we’ll take a lead magnet or some piece of content that we’ve created, say like our California Metrc guide, and we’ll want to send it out to folks here in California and just a great way to distribute our content and provide more value, but also have something worth offering and then using the database to nurture those prospects who are interested, and then hopefully, build a relationship.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah. That’s great. Thank you so much for your kind words here, Karen. Now, in terms of Trym and your current kind of processes, are there any like tips or tricks that you guys would like to share with our audience today?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, absolutely. One thing I would say is, again, we use the database for email marketing, which I think is a great channel, right? We’re all on our computer, we’re all on our phone. I think that channel will never die, and it’s always going to be one of the most successful channels for marketing. I believe. So, having that there is fantastic and also just keeping in mind that you need to have something desirable.

I think one of the email advisors on your team was telling us like, “You always ask yourself what’s in it for me.” So, when you’re crafting an email campaign and it’s to contacts who aren’t warm, you definitely need to think what’s in it for them. What’s going to inspire them to open the email? What’s going to inspire them to click through.?

And you need to be careful about damaging your email reputation. If you’re spamming people or sending things that aren’t interesting and are not valuable to them, you can get in trouble, and we’ve been down that path. It’s not irreversible, but just things that you learn along the way. So, just keep that in mind as you’re sending messages to people, whether cold or warm. Think about what’s in it for them. We want to be providing value and we don’t want to be just filling people’s inboxes with spam.

Amanda Guerrero: I love that and I know our Email Marketing Success Team will be very, very happy to hear your good praises, Karen. Thank you.

Ed Keating: So, Karen, looking forward, I’m curious how you see 2021. Are there markets that you think are interesting? Obviously, there was a lot of news coverage about states that had just approved to expand their programs like New Jersey, Arizona, Mississippi, et cetera. Anything out there forward looking that you want to share with us?

Karen Mayberry: Yeah, for sure. I’m personally excited about all the markets because they’re so different and I find it just fascinating, for instance, Oklahoma is one of the new and upcoming markets. There’s been so much buzz there and there’s been so many licenses distributed there. We get so many Oklahoma demo requests, and it’s exciting just to see how diverse the markets are.

The more mature ones, like California and Colorado, is totally different than doing business in a newer market like Michigan or Oklahoma per se. So, I just find it really just fun and funny to interact with all the different operators. I’m always going to have mad love for California. We have so many diverse brands here and everyone’s always fearful of like, “Oh, it’s M&A and everyone’s going to get swallowed up by the big MSLs and whatever.” It hasn’t happened yet.

Sure, it will happen, but it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t think it’s going to happen next year. These brands are solid and that’s here in California, and then you look to another market like Michigan. We’re working with quite a few cultivators in Michigan right now. I’m excited about the Michigan market.

I’m also interested to see what happens with New York this coming year. With all these states coming online, you know that’s the ball rolling towards federal legalization or some type of activity there. With New Jersey and with more and more states, and if New York goes, I feel like the ball is rolling, the momentum is going. We’re all just waiting for that to drop, right?

And we don’t know what’s going to happen. What’s going to happen when federal opens up? I don’t know what that’s going to do to all the different state markets and interstate trade and commerce. I’m just excited. We all just need to buckle up and stay agile.

Ed Keating: Yeah, totally agree. I’m based here in New England in Connecticut and with New Jersey just passing, Massachusetts has already gone down that route, Vermont trying to figure it out, Maine getting there. It’s likely to happen, and some of the articles that I’ve read talked about a big shift in some of the M&A happening here in the Northeast, which is way different than what we’ve seen for the last five years. So, definitely interesting times.

So, one last looking forward question. Any other trends that you see at play in the industry now or other prognostications you want to make while you’ve got the pulpit?

Karen Mayberry: I mean, I think what’s really cool is how many new technology solutions are popping up. I think everyone’s getting more and more sophisticated. We all are trying to figure out what we’re doing and, I mean, Trym, we’ve been around for almost three years and we’re still trying to… Our platform is just now getting really, really scalable. I think there’s working out the kinks and everything and figuring out how to create the most value. I think we’re getting there and I see other systems really just building so much value and I think integrations is going to be really exciting.

I want to integrate with a ton of other partners in 2021. We’ve got like a long roster of folks that we definitely want to hook up with. So, in terms of like technology advancements, I think there are so many happening and it’s super exciting and it’ll be interesting to see kind of who joins together, who bands together and partners up with maybe a merger or something, but, yeah.

Ed Keating: Yeah. I think that’s a great point. One of the things that we’ve talked about is some of these software providers are in their own way like MSLs. They’re in multiple states and they have features and will they start doing these kind of tuck-in technology acquisitions to say, “Hey, we need to have that.” Or, “We want to have ERP.” Or, “We want to have point of sale.” And will we start to see some of these platforms get bigger and stronger? So, fascinating times ahead, for sure.

Amanda Guerrero: Now, Karen, if our guests wanted to get in touch with you, especially as it relates to these integrations and partnerships that we are also excited for in 2021, what’s the best way for our listeners to get in touch with you?

Karen Mayberry: For sure, yeah. You can email me directly. It’s [email protected], Trym with a Y. So, [email protected] and just check out our website too, to learn more information about our products. We’ve got a ton of blogs, it’s trym.io. And yeah, we’d love to hear from anyone either looking for a software demo or just more information about partnerships or just anything. Hit us up.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, with that, you’ve heard it first from Karen. Hit her up if you guys have any questions. This has been a great show today. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing more insights about Trym, expansion, and the future. Karen, thank you so much. Ed, what do you think we have to look forward to next week within the updates from the data vault?

Ed Keating: So, we’re working on doing another cultivation overview. So, something that Trym should find interesting. We’re going to do that in November year to date, where have all the licenses been created, which states are top of the leaderboard, that kind of stuff. So, that should come out hopefully early next week and then the team’s been adding a lot of international information, has been doing a lot of research.

So, we’ve recently added licenses from Greece and we have some Israel licenses in the queue. We’re on the path to find some information in Great Britain. I think we have Billy’s Hemp in there already and I know we’ve loaded up some South Africa information.

So, as we kind of forecasted earlier this year, we think the international is going to continue to grow. The question is, is it going to grow sort of like a slow medical market or is it going to grow like in Oklahoma? And we’ll keep an eye on it and share whatever insights we come up with as we watch through the data vault.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, it looks like 2021 is the year for international data. So, if you’re listening and you’re curious to see what we have, definitely reach out to your account manager to [email protected] and we’ll hook you guys up with the demos so that you can see what international data we have thus far.

This is our show. Thank you so much everyone for joining. This is the Cannacurio podcast and we are your hosts, Amanda Guerrero and Ed Keating. Stay tuned for more updates from data vault.

Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Cannacurio podcast by Cannabiz Media. Stay up to date with the latest episodes of the podcast and get alerts on the latest licensing activity in the United States and Canada, as well as exclusive industry insights by signing up for the Cannabiz Media licensing newsletter at cannabiz.media/newsletter.

Ed Keating

Ed Keating is a co-founder and Chief Data Officer of Cannabiz Media and oversees our data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his whole career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space. Ed has overseen complex multijurisdictional product lines in the securities, corporate, UCC, safety, environmental and human resource markets and focuses on workflow products over the last twenty five years. During that time he has worked for both startup and established information companies where he has led marketing, product management and sales organizations. These companies include Wolters Kluwer/Commerce Clearing House, CT Corporation, EDGAR Online and Business & Legal Reports. At Cannabiz Media Ed enjoys the challenge of working with regulators across the globe as he and his team gather corporate, financial, and license information to track the people, products and businesses in the cannabis economy. Ed graduated from Hamilton College and received his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

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